Friday, October 29, 2010

Spicy Chicken Udon

Chicken, fat noodles and salt? Come on...that's like one of the best comfort food combos ever. Debating on what to make for dinner with limited ingredients, this little spicy gem was born. I had just completed my first take of making my very own sushi at home which turned out to be pretty successful (guess what is soon to debut?) I had some lil' additions I had picked up at the Japanese market I visited. Don't let the words "Udon" or "Siracha" intimidate you as you can find these items easily at any grocery store....BUT...if you can't find the Udon....just use any type of rice noodle. Pffft...even ramen noodles would suffice. If you've even been to any Chinese or Japanese...any Asian place to eat they usually have a big bottle of Siracha on every table. This dish is totally up to you....don't like spice? Then don't add the spice! Want more veggies? Add some slice mushrooms, pea shoots, water chestnuts, zucchini...whatever! Just do it...because it's that damn good.

2 small chicken breast portioned into small pieces
2 packages of unseasoned Udon noodles (already cooked)
1 cup of chopped spinach (thawed and drained if frozen)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup of red onion (large pieces)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 tblsp canola or peanut oil
1 tsp red pepper flake
Black pepper
Soy Sauce
Siracha chili sauce (optional)
Black sesame seeds (optional)

In a large wok or fry pan over high heat add the oil and chicken. Add a splash of soy sauce for seasoning. Move the chicken around so it doesn't burn until it is almost cooked. Add the onion and garlic and continue moving around to avoid burning for about 3 minutes. Add in the spinach that has been thawed and drained, red pepper flakes and some pepper for taste. Be sure it is drained to avoid the dish from becoming watery. Cook for another 5 minutes....stirring more of course. Turn down the heat slightly and add the noodles. Since they are usually tightly packed...let them sit for a bit before breaking them up to avoid tearing the noodles. Add in the stock and cook until everything looks well combined and tasty! Taste for seasoning. If you need more salt...add more soy. Want more spice? Wait for the Siracha OR add in more red pepper flakes. (TIP! When adding red pepper flakes to any dish, rub them between your fingers to break them up a bit. This releases their oils...the oils that carry the heat!)'re done. Serve that up in a nice wide bowl, garnish with Siracha and sesame seeds and eat with some fun chop sticks! Oh...don't forget the pear flavored Saki.

(oh so good!)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caprese Salad

On nights that I do not want to really cook, my husband and I always put together "snack plates". Like a antipasti plate..we switch it up with dips, sausages, cheeses, olives, etc. A caprese salad is one of the easiest and tastiest...and looks pretty too.

Fresh mozzarella
Fresh Basil leaves
5-6 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

I'm not even sure that directions are needed, but just in case....

Slice the mozzarella into thin slices and lay them on a platter slightly overlapping each other. Slice the tomatoes thin and place all over the platter and cheese. Chiffonade the basil leaves and sprinkle over the cheese and tomatoes. Salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Almond Biscotti

Ever want just a little something with your morning coffee that's just a bit sweet? Most of my choices at home usually consist of nothing since I try not to keep sweets around the house. And when at work....forget choices are complete junk like donuts, cookies, and just plain bad. This biscotti is the perfect choice, because it's just a little bit sweet with the taste of almonds. I've made biscotti before and with each batch they get better and better.

3 eggs
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Almond extract
1 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tblsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375F

Mix the sugar, eggs, oil and extract together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add dry mixture into the egg mixture until thick and well combined. Mix in the almonds, save some to top the biscotti. Form the mixture into a long loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. *When forming into a loaf, be sure to shape the dough into the form you want your biscotti to come out. Don't make it too thick as it will rise slightly when baking. Top with remaining almonds. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, let cool. Once cooled slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place the cookies back onto the baking sheet and bake for another 6-10 minutes until slightly golden.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Butter Crunch Parsley Potatoes

As the French would say....crunchy bonté beurre...oui!

All in a hard days work....not! In liu of office speak, a client had hinted to a potato she serves up every Thanksgiving that is not only a family treasure, but it's crunchy! I just had to try for myself even though this would totally defeat the purpose of my low carb whatever. I just happened to have some baby golden yukons, fresh parsley and chilled Pinot lying around. With an important paper due for school, pending work tasks that I could have gotten a head start on over the weekend and a multitude of household tasks....I got straight to cookin' It was great....the food too. :)

1 lb of baby Yukon Gold potatoes
4 tblsp salted melted butter
Handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350F

Pour about 3 tablespoons of the melted butter in the bottom of a shallow baking dish that is large enough for all of the potatoes. Sprinkle in the chopped parsley. Cut the potatoes in half and place cut-side down into the dish. Pour the remaining butter over the top of potatoes and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the over and roast for 25-35 minutes until fork tender and the bottoms are golden brown and crunchy.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Itty bitty teeny birdies....awwww....

There's nothing more cozy than spending a fall Sunday drinking some vino and roasting a bird. However, I hate the messiness of carving, serving and the mass amount of clean up afterwards. Besides the wishbone, there really isn't much to do with the rest of the bird. Game hens work out perfectly, they look like chicken, taste like chicken, cost the same as chicken and the clean up minimal.

2 Cornish Rock Game Hens (1-2lbs)
4 large carrots
2 whole garlic cloves crushed
1 small lemon quartered
1 small white onion quartered
Canola oil
1 stick of salted butter
1 large sprig of Sage
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut the carrots in half, length wise and line them up on the bottom of a large shallow baking dish or roasting pan. Rinse each bird inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the birds liberally with canola oil until they are well covered. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of each bird with 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 lemon wedges and 2 pieces of onion. Tie the legs of the bird together with baking twine OR you can use a toothpick to hold the legs together. Place the birds on the carrots, breast-side up. Tuck the wings underneath to avoid burning.

Melt the stick of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the sage leaves.

Place the birds in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes basting with the sage butter every ten minutes. Bird is done when the juices run clear from the thickest part of the bird.

Serve with the carrots and a side dish of my roasted potatoes!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Goodie Cookie Squares

A friend of mine was recently injured during a super intense hockey game...totally cool sports injury of course. Before a recent trip to his home to check on the status of his injury I had thrown together these cookie squares as a get well effort to cheer him up. I was originally going to make plain old pb cookies, but decided to add a little extra with the chocolate. I saved a couple of them for my husband and we failed to keep from eating them, I was forced to baked another batch just for us. So in honor of Mr. Goodie....I give you Goodie Cookie Squares.

1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
pinch of salt
1 Hersey Chocolate Bar

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream the peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and salt and mix until a dough forms. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper and evenly press the dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are GoldenBrown :). Cool and cut into small squares. Break up the chocolate and melt in a double boiler or microwave. Dip the bottom of the squares in the melted chocolate and place onto a piece of parchment paper (reuse same piece). Place in refrigerator to harden.